CALIFORNIA MARRIAGE LICENSE
Registration and Ceremony Information
(This information was gathered from the California Department of Public Health.)
Click here to find the County Clerk or County Recorder for your county.
BEFORE THE CEREMONY:
No more than 90 days before the ceremony, the bride and groom must appear in person at the County Clerk’s Office and provide a valid picture identification, such as a state issued identification card, a driver license, a passport, a military identification, etc. Some counties may also require a copy of your birth certificate.
If you have been married before, you will need to know the specific date your last marriage ended and how it ended (Death, Dissolution, Divorce or Nullity). Some counties may require a copy of the final judgment if your previous marriage ended by dissolution or nullity.
The County Clerk will issue a marriage license valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If you do not get married within 90 days, the license will no longer be valid and you will need to purchase a new license. There are two types of marriage licenses: public and confidential. You will need to determine if you wish to obtain a public or confidential marriage license. For additional information about the two types of licenses, click here.
All fees and hours of issuance for a marriage license may vary by county. Please contact the County Clerk’s Office directly.
You do not need to be a California resident to marry in California.
Only an unmarried male and an unmarried female may marry in California.
Marriage by proxy is NOT allowed in California. Family Code, Section 420(a) requires the bride, groom, marriage officiant and witness if applicable, be physically present together in the same location for the marriage to be performed.
Blood tests are NOT required to obtain a marriage license in California.
THE DAY OF THE CEREMONY:
Be sure to bring the marriage license the day of the ceremony. After the ceremony, I gather the required signatures and will ensure that everything is in order. I will then return the original marriage license to the County Recorder’s Office (public license) or the County Clerk’s Office (confidential license).
All information on the marriage license MUST be legible, unambiguous and reproducible. DO NOT change any information on the license, cross out information, use white out, etc., as that will require the payment for and issuance of a duplicate marriage license.
AFTER THE CEREMONY:
About two weeks after the ceremony, you may request a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the County Recorder (usually at the same office as the County Clerk where you picked up your marriage license. The marriage certificate is the legal document that certifies your married status. It does not get sent to you automatically. You must personally request it from the County Recorder's office.